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Stroke secondary to syphilis

  • Alternative Names

    Syphilitic stroke


    The following symptoms may occur about 1-4 weeks before the stroke:

    • Headache
    • Vertigo (abnormal sensation of movement)
    • Behavioral changes
    • Irritability
    Symptoms of stroke include:
    • Weakness or the total inability to move a body part
    • Numbness, tingling or other abnormal sensations
    • Decreased or lost vision, partial or temporary
    • Language difficulties (aphasia)
    • Inability to recognize or identify sensory stimuli (agnosia)
    • Loss of memory
    • Vertigo (abnormal sensation of movement)
    • Loss of coordination
    • Swallowing difficulties
    • Personality changes
    • Mood and emotion changes
    • Urinary incontinence (lack of control over bladder)
    • Lack of control over the bowels
    • Consciousness changes
      • Drowsiness
      • Fatigue
      • Loss of consciousness

    Signs and tests

    The doctor will ask if you have a history of syphilis. Blood tests can be done to check for substances in the blood produced by the bacteria that causes syphilis. These include:

    • Venereal disease research laboratory test (VDRL)
    • Rapid plasma reagin test (RPR)

    If tests are positive, other tests are done to confirm the diagnosis. A spinal tap may be done to check for syphilis-related substances in the CSF (cerebrospinal fluid).

    The following tests may be used to determine the location and severity of the stroke:

    • Head CT scan
    • Head MRI scan
    • Angiography of the head or neck